I wonder, does Beth Moore leave the SBC if the daily reality of her engagement with critics had been characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness? Does this moment in the church feel so fraught if our disagreements are characterized by “compassion” and “patient bearing”?
None of this means that theological or ideological disagreements don’t matter. Theological divisions especially can be reason for division all by themselves. None of this means that justice itself isn’t at stake when we wade into the issues that sparked Beth’s departure from the SBC. But the virtues above are not tactics to be disregarded when the stakes are high. They are instead supposed to be the fundamental identity markers of the church. They fundamentally defined Christ himself. Were the stakes not high when he walked the earth?
It is the presence or absence of these virtues that is presently splitting the Evangelical community as much as any doctrinal difference. I’d argue that the presence or absence of these virtues is also splitting our nation as much as any single ideological dispute. And yet those virtues are increasingly seen as “secondary values,” if not outright obstacles to true justice. It’s as if kindness to your opponents is somehow seen as evidence of insufficient devotion to your righteous cause.